“Fucking great Linda, how the fuck are you?”
“Don’t ask Bea, don’t ask!”
“It’ll pick up in a bit”
“Well it bloody better, Bea, cause it can’t stay like this!”
“So you got my message then?”
“Yeah Bea, you can ‘ave a few shifts, Darlin’”
“That’s fucking fantastic Linda”That’s fucking fantastic indeed, in my mind I’m like “What are you doing? Why are you doing this to yourself?”“I’ve got about 5 shifts for ya honey”
“That”s perfect Linda”
“What? That’s not perfect at all you hate that place!”
“Alright darlin’ I’ll see ya later then”
“Ok Linda, thanks a lot”Misery sets in.Delaneys. Linda.45 year old men from Norfolk asking if you’re hair’s the same colour downstairs. I need the money.The first shift I get unutterably pissed before I go in. The tills are wrong. Linda asks me what I’ve been taking.“Nothing Linda, it’s just been a while since I worked these tills”I pour the wrong drink and she clocks it straight away.“What the fahk is this Bea?”She stares with menace into my meek visage. Her hair’s orange like the embers in our barbecue, back when I was free and having barbecues and not working in a horrible bar with a woman who’s personality matches her hair.
The next time goes better. I don’t get pissed beforehand and get bought a couple of drinks on shift. A cool £14 in tips, thank you very much drunk, leery man. I smile and talk about France and imply that I’d like to go there with him. This is my work personality, I’ve found her again after 8 years. I thought she was dead but apparently she’d always been there, lurking around in some backwash, beer-sodden area of my brain.
“Bea, come out with us to Karma Cafe!”
“Yeah might do after my shift”
“No you won’t. You won’t do anything of the kind, you’ll go home and go to fucking bed,” says the nice part of my psyche that actually gives a shit about me and wants me to do well. But then there’s the other part that says “Coupla free drinks ey?”
Never one to turn down a free drink, me.
On the fourth shift I get wasted all day with Niall and Archie and cry about having to go to work. I’m in bed with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc stuck to my face, snot running down my chin, clinging onto Niall and screaming ‘I don’t want to go-ooo’
Archie puts on Depeche mode, which makes me cry more.
“I fucking hate Depeche mo-oode!” I weep. Niall tells me to man up. Down the pub I get the piss ripped out of me for weeks.
Niall comes down to Delaneys with me. I’m so pissed I can’t see. I make out with Niall over the bar while he sinks pints of guinness and becomes increasingly annoying. He keeps shouting“Beazer!” across the bar at me when I’m trying to work. Linda moves me to the other bar. Niall follows. Linda moves me back to the small bar. Niall comes back to the small bar. I tell him to leave. He refuses. Eventually Linda chucks him out when he falls asleep on his chair. I find him lying on the pavement when my shift finishes at 2:30. Archie’s sitting next to him telling pedestrians to fuck off.
On the fifth shift I lose my job. I’m drunk and the tills are wrong.
“You can’t be drunk Bea”
“Yeah well, Linda,” I slur, “I’m an alcoholic, what can I say”
“Can’t be an alcoholic, Bea, I’m sorry I’m gonna have to let you go”
I stare morosely around the room. Everyone’s a twat. I stand up.
“You know what? Fuck you Linda!” I stumble towards the door, then look round with a sweep that encompasses all the employees in the room. “FUCK YOU ALL!” I bellow majestically. I open the door with my face and roll into the street, losing my wages. The next day I have to go back in there to pick up that week’s money.